As tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington, D.C., Seattle, Boston, San Francisco and other U.S. cities to demand action on climate change, a smaller but just as fervent group of protesters gathered at a sister rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol.
Organizers of the Austin event — which drew at least 2,000 people, according to a Texas Department of Public Safety head count — was ostensibly a sequel to last week’s much larger March for Science. But while the science rally organizers had sought to avoid picking partisan sides, the climate rally featured local Democrats, including Austin’s U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who unabashedly took a shot at the Republican-led Texas Legislature.
“We have a state leadership just like Donald Trump — that doesn’t believe in evolution, they deny the climate (change), and I’m not real sure where they are on gravity,” Doggett said. “Science seems to be alien to them.”
Austin Mayor Steve Adler also spoke, touting the city’s efforts toward “a zero carbon footprint” by 2050 and its goals of saving electricity.
The event not only drew politicians, but also parents worried about the planet’s future and the world they would leave to their kids.
Stacy MacDiarmid of Austin, who works for the Environmental Defense Fund, brought her two young sons to the rally because she said she wanted them to see what political activism looks like.
MacDiarmid said she was disturbed by the use of the Congressional Review Act to repeal Obama-era environmental regulations and by actions taken by President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt, to undermine the Clean Air Act.
“We believe in policies that will work to combat the worst effects of climate change,” MacDiarmid said.
Wearing a pink, cat-eared cap popularized during the Women’s March and holding a sign that read “I’m With Her,” with an arrow pointing to an image of Earth, 66-year-old Norman Bean came to the rally from Martindale.
Bean said he worries about the environment because he thinks lawmakers are more concerned about the interests of large corporations.
“This is a local thing right here to let our local, state representatives and senators know that we have a conscience and that they can’t just gloss over us,” Bean said. “I hope it makes a difference.”